BES II Project Outcomes

What’s This All About? Second story bays, Charles Village neighborhood, Baltimore.  BES LTER Photo. BES, as a Long-Term Ecological Research project, is funded in six year increments.  BES II actually lasted for seven years due to a change in the scheduling of the grant cycle by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  We are obliged to […]

What is a Metacity?

Metacity: Beyond Mere Size Hong Kong. Copyright Brian McGrath. The term “metacity” was introduced by the United Nations as a way to capture the increasing size of the largest urban aggregations on the planet.  Previously, the term “megacity” had been the largest category of city, referring to any urban area comprising more than 10 million […]

Why Does BES Have Rules for Running Meetings?

There are two answers to this question.  First, a wise man, Prof. M. Gordon “Reds” Wolman, suggested at our first meeting that we needed some rules to guide how such meetings were conducted.  Reds, who died last year, was a famous and creative scientist, an accomplished administrator, and a leader in the Nation’s scientific discourse.  […]

A Presentation on BES III: Research, Education, and Engagement from the Sanitary to the Sustainable City

By now, friends and members of BES are familiar with the new research strategy we have developed to guide our third grant cycle.  A new six year grant is an opportunity to keep up important long-term measurements and experiments, but is also a chance to make important changes. The fact that the Baltimore metropolitan area […]

Where is the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES)?

BES as Place Why in Baltimore of course?  But that’s not a complete answer.  Our research, education, and community engagement are of course focused on the five-county conurbation that is centered on the city of Baltimore.  There, we focus on built, modified, and native watersheds, which are perhaps better labeled catchments.  We also focus on […]

Swamps and the City: Part II

A special guest post by Prof. Grace S. Brush, Johns Hopkins University. My last post discussed how the role of people in shaping the swampy systems of the Everglades had been erased.  That erasure paralleled how biophysical processes had in the past been ignored in thinking about urban systems.  Because Baltimore is a coastal city, […]

Swamps and the City

Laura A. Ogden, of Florida International University is an anthropologist and Co-Principal Investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER.  She is also a regular collaborator with the BES community and has been involved with us and others in cross site projects concerning environmental justice, and the social ecology of lawns.  She has additional projects addressing […]

Natural Experiments of History

The title of this essay is the same as a book edited by Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press.  The book explores the general method of natural experiments applied to human societies and history.  It was tempting to title this essay “Cultural Experiments,” because the emphasis of their […]

A Moving Field Guide

Seeing the World Science starts with noticing the world – what plants and animals do, the changes in vegetation over time – or in wondering what’s going on beneath the surfaces we see.  Careful observation continues as we devise instruments or methods to extend our initial view, guided by models and concepts.  Experiments are another […]

Adaptive Explanations in Cities

Cities are hard to explain, no doubt.  Within and between cities, social capital, historical contingency, economic resources, and the deployment of power are well known explanatory variables.  One kind of explanatory process, however, has been notably absent from the roster of possibilities in urban socio-ecological research.  Surprisingly, that missing element is one of the most […]